As we approach the final moments of 2023, we're excited to reflect on the year's milestones and share the latest news and achievements of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Our 100+ year CBDJRL continues to thrive, with more than 200 children already registered to join the competition in 2024 following the recent opening of the 2024 season registration period. Outstandingly, over 50% of these registrations are within a target age group designed to help attract greater numbers to the game and in turn, help us to continue to strengthen, develop and foster an extremely healthy local talent pool.
With the Club’s recent announcement of subsidised junior league registrations, we expect that these registration numbers will continue to prosper into the new year and provide even more young families with access to the great game of rugby league, and all the benefits that come with playing this team and community-based sport. To find a local club including one of our 12 junior league clubs, go to playrugbyleague.com and enter your postcode. Rugby League is a great way to connect within the community and we encourage everyone to get involved.
We cannot thank the Canterbury League Club enough for funding up to $100.00 per child in the Under 5s to Under 13s age brackets for the 2024 season, providing much reprieve in challenging times for many.
The growth of our junior league also means greater participation in rugby league for young females in our local area. While the Club anxiously awaits the results of our NRLW submission, we are excited to continue to implement and grow a world-class development and pathway program for aspiring female footballers, all while maintaining our existing track record of producing top-quality NRL male stars.
The year gone by has seen the number of locally produced NRL and NRLW stars grow, with a number of local juniors having made their debuts across the NRL and NRLW. While the goal is to one day soon offer a full and clear pathway from junior league through the NRLW to complement our existing male pathway, we do take great pride in seeing our junior representative crop graduate to the NRLW and go on to achieve great things.
We must commend the excellent work that our Male and Female Pathways have undertaken over the last 12 months, leading us to four junior representative grand finals, two Premierships, the NSWRL Flowers Memorial Pennant for the most accumulative points across all grades, and a record representation at an origin and international level.
With true Bulldogs, Steve ‘the Zap’ Turner, Josh Jackson and Mick Potter now championing the development of our young male pathways players, and Barry Ward and Craig Sandercock leading the charge on the Club’s female program development, we are confident that our successes will continue to grow into the future.
Our NRL players and staff have now all returned from a rigorous pre-season training camp and will switch off the batteries for a few days to recover. From all accounts, the camp was a challenging yet rewarding experience for all involved, helping to strengthen our squad connectivity under even the toughest of circumstances.
Head Coach, Cameron Ciraldo, General Manager of Football Phil Gould and Head of Recruitment, Peter Sharp have done an excellent job in recruiting new Bulldogs to the Club this season and strengthening our squad depth. All of our recruits have settled well into life at Belmore, and have created an immediate impact at training. They each embody the traditional Bulldogs spirit and are working extremely hard alongside their teammates this pre-season.
It has been a privilege to welcome them all to our Bulldogs family, and while a lot of our Members had the pleasure of meeting some of them at the Members Christmas Party – a wonderful, community event hosted at Belmore Sports Ground – we look forward to even more of our Members and fans getting the chance to get to know these outstanding young men and players as the season unfolds in 2024.
Off the field, we are pleased to say that we have once again commenced a strong start to the year with regard to our Membership program. Off the back of a record year in 2023 where we surpassed 22,000 Members, we look to be on track to once again surpass a new record in 2024. This is a huge credit to the amazing blue-and-white army we have that support our side, and our legacy – ‘Our breed’. Our Members are the lifeblood of our organisation and we are so incredibly proud to be on this journey with you all.
Bulldog’s fans yet to join ‘the Breed’ are reminded that seated or GA Memberships guarantee your spot in the stands or on the hill for our 2024 clashes. If you can’t make it to games, there are a number of benefits to becoming an ‘At-Home’ Member, with ticketing add-ons for those who live interstate. We hope you join us as we turn out in even stronger numbers in the new season, and as our great Club, ‘the sleeping giant’ of the NRL continues to prove we have the loudest, most loyal Pack in all the NRL.
On the note of Members, we would like to express our thanks to everyone who turned out at the Member's Christmas party earlier this month. It was so wonderful to see so many of our players and player families engaging with our wider Bulldog family. The Christmas carols, entertainment and fireworks were phenomenal, and it was such a pleasure to enjoy such a great evening with you all. We can’t wait to host a series of ongoing events next year, designed to create more engagement and connection amongst our community.
So far, our staff and players have once again outdone themselves, serving our community in so many ways. It has made me incredibly proud to see staff and alumni turn out to assist Laundy Hotels and the Laundy Family as they serve those less fortunate than us this Holiday Season, volunteering to wrap gifts of essential items like clothing to be distributed this Christmas to Sydney’s Homeless alongside Pass It On Clothing. A number of volunteers will also travel to the Laundy’s Woolly Bay Hotel venue, to serve warm meals on Christmas Day alongside them.
Beyond this, players assisted Young Academics in wrapping and delivering Christmas gifts to Westmead Children’s Hospital through a heartwarming Christmas Toy Drive, and several members of the playing squad and staff volunteered their day off to support Kids with Cancer Foundation Ambassador, Jacob Kiraz. They visited the Foundation’s head office to pack hampers for families with sick children who will remain in Hospital over Christmas, hoping to bring some joy to them in challenging times.
As in previous years, the Bulldogs also visited the Rev. Bill Crews Foundation to deliver and donate non-perishable items to support their Christmas Food Appeal. The Foundation has once again collected and packed thousands of hampers for struggling families and individuals this year with its doors open on Christmas day across several sites to welcome hundreds of individuals who would otherwise go without for a special meal together.
‘Unite and Inspire’ is a mantra at the Bulldogs and is always at the back of our minds at the Club as our purpose: it is something we always want to do, unite our community. Activities such as these, make us all incredibly proud that our Club is endeavouring to live out our purpose every day.
As we look to 2024, we hope this is something we can achieve collectively and greater than ever before.
We look forward to our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in February, to provide you with further updates, discussing the great strides we have taken to ensure our Club’s future successes and answering any questions you may have.
Ahead of this, we would like to thank you for your ongoing support of the Board and Management which has enabled us to continue to lead our strategic vision with great unity and stability.
As in previous years, we invite you to submit any questions you would like to raise for the AGM by submitting them by email, to Monica Shakya at email@example.com or via post, at PO Box 123, Belmore NSW 2192.
A general reminder, that our office has closed for the Holidays but any questions received during the holiday period will be noted on return.
Before we sign off, on behalf of everyone involved here at the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, we would like to thank you for being a part of this journey with the Bulldogs over the past 12 months. We look forward to what lies ahead in 2024, but for now, our players and staff are currently enjoying a well-deserved break and are recharging the batteries before we gear up to go again in 2024.
Our players will return to training early in the new year, and our office will re-open on Monday the 8th of January, 2024. For full office closure details and Team Store (The Bulldog Belmore) Holiday Trading hours, please see HERE.
As always, we thank you for your ongoing support and loyalty and wish you a happy new year.
John Khoury and Aaron Warburton
Chairman and CEO